By Vernon Felton
Photos by Hoshi Yoshida
Frank Schneider is a hard, hard man.
This, apparently, explains why the former World Cup DH racer decided to race Megavalanche’s Masters Challenger Class on a hardtail—a singlespeed hardtail—and won. Schneider also finished second, overall, in the Mega Challenger Cup.
Apparently it’s not enough to compete in one of the toughest marathon downhill races known to man. Nope, he had to do it with the cycling equivalent of both hands tied behind his back. Oh, and he started the race from back in third row, which meant he needed to pass 40 riders to take that lead position.
By the time “Schneidi” got to the end of the glacier section (just in case you forgot, the race begins atop a glacier and, in its initial minutes, consists of people in full face helmets crashing and skidding at dangerously high speeds across the ice) he’d already passed 30 competitors. Schneider then picked off the remaining ten on the high-speed, technical singletrack sections and, yes, he did it with one effing gear.
Schneider was riding a Nicolai hardtail, equipped with a Gates Carbondrive belt. It’s the set up he generally rocks, so clearly the whole belt-drive thing works for him. I’d say something at this point about how we tested this same belt-drive system and found it quite rugged, but anything we have to say on the subject seems sort of puny and insignificant at this point in the narrative. So, uh, yeah, there you have it.
The video clip below isn’t of Schneider humbling racers on state-of-the-art, six-inch travel bikes—it’s just really fast and phenomenal trail riding footage, but it’s well worth clicking. Enjoy.